Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Minnesota wrecking crew

TPaw by Avidor Although the posts are regrettably rare (not here, although they’ve been pretty light lately, too; sorry about that), when Rob posts at The Triumph of Conservative Philanthropy, it’s always worth reading. Here’s one to go with your Saturday morning coffee: Tim Pawlenty’s Minnesota Wrecking Crew. Rob draws a comparison between the behavior at the federal level described in Thomas Frank’s book The Wrecking Crew and what has been wrought under Tim Pawlenty’s leadership.

Here in Minnesota Tim Pawlenty is actually a good state analog to the Republican Party's destructive ways. First and foremost he is nothing if not a conservative ideologist. With a smiling face and affable personality he has delivered harsh blows, many to the state's least powerful and most vulnerable, with a velvet fist, using curious words like "unallotment." . . .

An Interstate bridge over the Mississippi fell on Pawlenty's watch - in part the result of his policies of starving the state of needed funds for transportation, which resulted in delayed repairs and replacements. In one case he tried to get construction contractors to finance their own first year of work, a tactic which ended up costing the state millions and delaying the reconstruction of a large traffic interchange for a year or more. Each day, it seems we hear of new degradations. The City of Minneapolis is so financially strapped it is reducing the number of police officers. The state's largest public hospital is so hard hit by the governor's budgeting that it will no longer treat people from outside the county.

Pawlenty is no piker on the corruption front, either. As but one example, he chose a lawyer from the state's biggest polluter, 3M, as the head of the state pollution control agency (MPCA). She later had to quietly slink away amid a growing scandal over slow-walked research by the MPCA looking into 3M groundwater pollution. Predictably, she then went on to a cushy job at the nation's number one polluter, Koch Refining. And just last week a $50 million scandal erupted over the state's "out of control" Charter schools.

You know, boys and girls, maybe Governor Gutshot is the perfect Republican candidate after all. Rob said he would be “practiced” at his craft.

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